Go-ahead for organic set-aside grazing
By Philip Clarke, Europe editor
ORGANIC producers have been given the go ahead to feed fodder legumes grown on set-aside land to livestock.
As Brussels moves towards a greener agricultural policy, European agriculture ministers gave their full support to the move on Tuesday (24 April).
The measure will be available for crops grown this year. The decision forms part of a seven-point EU plan for reducing beef surpluses after the BSE crisis.
Many details must still be thrashed out. But it seems certain that grass-clover mixes will be among the eligible crops and cattle will be allowed to graze fields.
The measure wont apply to non-organic land, however, as that would invalidate set-aside as a production restricting measure, thereby jeopardising area aid.
But the European Commission is expected to look at exempting all organic land from set aside as part of next years mid-term review of Agenda 2000.
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